Bank Robber- William Smarto

Masterminds TV Show

Bank robber William Smarto committed a string of bank robberies throughout his criminal career but his most famous and known bank robbery was of the First National Bank of Barrington in Barrington, Illinois in April of 1981 in which Smarto stole over $1.1 million in cash and jewelry. Smarto committed the robbery by hiding out in the room of the safety deposit boxes of the bank and waiting until the bank closed. When the bank closed for that weekend, Smarto spent the whole weekend, chiseling away at the safety deposit boxes and stealing from and emptying out 74 safety deposit boxes. When the bank opened on Monday morning, he hid back in the same blind spot. He set the bank up exactly as it was found, including sealing the safety deposit boxes back up. When the bank attendant opened the vault on this morning, she didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. Once the bank was fully opened to the public, Smarto leaves dressed up in a construction worker's uniform, as the bank was under construction at the time, and walked out with all his loot. For his part in the bank robbery of First National Bank of Barrington, Smarto gets a 8-year sentence in prison.


Bank Robber William Smarto

Just northwest of Chicago lies the town of Barrington in Illinois. In the early 1980s, many of its citizens relied on the First National Bank of Barrington to keep their money and valuables safe. However, on Saturday, April 11, 1981, this all changes as the bank is subject to one of the worst bank robberies in US history.

The bank robber in charge of this robbery was William Smarto, a local hairdresser in Illinois. FBI agents cased him as a hairdresser by day and a bank burglar by weekend.

Before Smarto robs the bank, he enlists the help of his brother Vincent Smarto to case potential target banks. They were looking for banks in wealthy areas where there was likely to be a lot of jewelry and cash in the safety deposit banks. At the First National Bank of Barrington, they find just what they're looking for.

Smarto's next step is to familiarize himself with the bank's routine. He visited the bank frequently. He and his brother rented a box at the bank under a false name. He find out all the bank's inner workings, when the safety deposit room isn't surveillanced, the workings of bank employees. Once he figures out all the internal workings of the bank, he decides that he can rob it.

In order to rob the bank, he needs tools to do the job. The safety deposit box room of the bank had false ceilings that Smarto opened up and hid his tools in. This included hammers, flashlights, and all other equipment he would need to pull off the job. Smarto hides in corner of bank with safety deposit boxes

On the weekend he would pull off the robbery, Smarto hides in the room of the bank with the safety deposit boxes. There is a corner that is blind to the bank attendants that Smarto hides in, shown to the right. Smarto conceals here until the bank attendants lock the vault. When they do so, he stays in his position for an hour later to make sure they are gone. Then he comes out, gets all his tools, and hammers away at the safety deposit boxes. He opens 74 safety boxes, netting over $1.1 million in cash and jewels. He then seals all the safety deposit boxes so that the safety deposit room looks exactly as he found.

On Monday morning when the bank attendants reopened the vault, they noticed nothing out of the ordinary. Now, Smarto gets out of his hiding position dressed as a construction worker, since construction was going on in the bank, and flees with the stolen goods.

FBI agents call it the perfect crime. However, Smarto gets caught as he tries to rob other banks using the same mode of operation. The FBI agents link the MOs and he gets charged for the First National Bank of Barrington robbery. For his role in the bank robbery, Smarto originally receives 20 years but it gets reduced to 8 years after he returns the stolen goods.



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